Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Saving money on groceries

Just unearthed this great article about how to save money on groceries. It offers some very handy tips (most of which we already follow); however, there are certain things on which I thought I might offer my own opinion.

"Leave your kids at home" - while I know that it is much, much easier to do your shopping with no kids in tow, and while, in fact, my husband does most of our shopping alone, we see a visit to the grocery store as a valuable learning opportunity, and sometimes we all go together just so the girls can learn, from a very young age, how to compare prices and products. Also, and I'm not saying this to be boastful, for our girls the words "this does not belong to us" work like magic - whenever we say this, they drop whatever they are holding like a hot potato, whether it is an item in a grocery store, a toy in a toy store, or a toy/game in someone else's home they were not permitted to handle. 

"Shop at larger stores" - the thing is, many times folks who do frugal are also those who want organic, local, small business, etc. So... cheap or organic? Cheap or local? A large store with fabulous prices, or a small local grocery store you want to support? These questions don't always have a clear-cut answers. Within the scope of our local businesses, we (I'm opening my inward umbrella against the rotten tomatoes and eggs that will be flung in my direction...) support those stores which prefer to hire Jewish employees. Yes, yes, we are bigoted racists, but we also live in Israel and things are a bit tense here, so we feel perfectly justified in preferring to give our cash to our own people. 

"Own an extra freezer or fridge" - we do, and it's certainly very convenient to be able to stock up, but I'm not at all convinced this is really a good deal, taking into account the cost of electricity involved in running a second refrigerator. Also, ours is placed outside (we simply don't have room in the house for another fridge), and while it's very handy to stock it with cold drinks for guests who hang out on the front porch, naturally it takes even more electricity to keep cold, while it's so hot outside. We do get some good deals  on stuff (chicken, ground beef, fish) which we freeze in bulk, but does what we save cover the constant running of the second fridge and freezer? It's hard to tell, because the deals and the cost of the frozen items vary constantly. 

Overall, living frugally is a question of mindset. If you aim to buy as much as possible for as little money as possible, that is still consumer mentality. If, on the other hand, you aim to buy just what you need for as little as possible, to free up your time and space for other things, you are on the right track! 


Marivene said...

Of the 49 tips in the article, I think the 2 most useful are to grow it yourself, and to not waste food (leftovers), both of which are pretty much common sense.

I also choose to support my local shops. It costs me less in gas money to shop locally, & I prefer to support those I know.

Lady Anne said...

I do like your "that does not belong to us' approach. I would take dangerous or fragile things from the girls by offering them some toy of theirs and tell them "That is my toy; this one is yours", but never thought to extend it to the grocery store.

We don't eat meat, so can't help you there, but I can understand about the extra freezer business. Our power tends to go off fairly often, so I either purchase extra canned goods, or do my own canning, so I don't have to worry about power failures. Granted canned produce doesn't taste nearly as good as frozen, but it doesn't spoil, either.

I don't blame you at all for shopping at Jewish stores. It is really important to you that the person serving you knows what is or is not Kosher, or opts to only sell those products. I love to shop at the local farmers markets; I pay a bit more for my veggies, but I know they are fresh and organic. You're doing everything right. IMHO.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Lady Anne, this is not a question of kosher products; pretty much all large chains in Israel have a kosher certificate, and I can be 100% certain every product I buy there is kosher, but I prefer to support stores that employ Jews; thus, indirectly, I support Jewish families. I believe the choice here is between supporting one's brother and a stranger; obviously, one's brother comes first.

Lady Anne said...

Duh, I never even thought that all of the stores in Israel would be Kosher, but wouldn't those stores "automatically" hire Jews?

I certainly understand why you would rather buy from a store that employs Jews, but wouldn't that be primarily clothing stores or such, where the nationality of the employees wouldn't normally be a factor?

THE Princess Bombshell* said...

I'm not jewish, but I totally get it, Anna. Keep it in the family. You're not a bigoted racist. :) Well, at least I don't think so. That comment literally made me lol!

It's awesome to have choices. It's your money.

Joie Weiher said...

Sounds like a similar choice I make in the States NOT to support companies that use their profits to promote bigotry. I'm not speaking tongue-in-cheek here. For example, I will not allow my family to go to Chik-fil-A for two reasons 1. it's fast food and 2. they are against marriage equality (not that I would imagine you or most of your readers support that idea, either). I also do everything I can to support companies that pay a living wage over those who do not, etc.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Lady Anne, in the big stores where almost everything is pre-packaged, it really shouldn't matter, kosher-wise, whether the employees are Jewish or not. In the deli, where food is actually handled, they mostly do employ Jews. But, say, here in the West Bank shop owners sometimes employ Arabs who don't have an Israeli citizenship, so that they can pay lower wages. I think this is denying one's brother a job, out of petty greed. Also, in house repair, agriculture, etc, "Jewish work" costs more. I could have explained this straight away, but generally I try not to use such words ("West Bank" and "Arabs") on my blog at all, so as not to attract undesirable Google searches!!

Otter Mom said...

I certainly don't think you are bigoted or racist, and there is nothing wrong with living your faith & beliefs. Which includes where & how you shop. We certainly try to live our values, although it is hard at times when the rest of the world seems to think we should be something else. I'm sure you are familiar with that.
The link didn't work for me, by the way. I always took my daughter to the grocery store with me, it was an experience that she needed to learn from. Children can be greedy at a young age, but they aren't going to learn not to be that way if they aren't taught. The grocery store provides many learning/teaching opportunities.